Green Line Ideas Competition

Architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, artists and community members are invited to create visionary design proposals for the public use of an overhead transmission line corridor (aka hydro corridor) in midtown Toronto. Bold ideas and practical solutions are encouraged to address important issues such as alternative transportation and safety concerns. Multidisciplinary teams are welcome.

This design competition aims to demonstrate the potential of the particular hydro corridor site and also to foster a discussion on public use of other similar spaces in North American cities. Imagine the electricity infrastructure as a Green Line — a pedestrian and cycling link across the middle of the city and a public space and recreational amenity to the many neighbourhoods across Toronto that it links.

This is an open, international ideas competition whose purpose is to gather a range of possibilities for the Green Line site in order to stimulate dialogue and action. The ideas will not be built, but they are meant to get the communities who live, study and work near the site to start thinking about its future. Also, the intent is to demonstrate the value of creating a unified vision along the length of the entire hydro corridor, rather than to have this space develop in a piecemeal way.

The competition results will be showcased in Spacing, an online and print magazine that reaches a wide and diverse audience interested in urban issues across Canada. Also, they intend to exhibit a selection of the competition entries along the Green Line site itself.

The Green Line is an overhead transmission line, or hydro corridor as they are known in Canada, in midtown Toronto that is more than 5 kilometres (3 miles) long. It passes through a wide range of neighbourhoods, from Davenport Village to the Annex. The Green Line is already well used by local residents. It has splash pads, sports fields, allotment gardens, parking lots and children’s playgrounds, but the spaces are mostly in poor condition and the corridor does not currently provide a continuous physical connection due to grade changes and fencing.

The Green Line crosses interesting and varied territory: the western end starts at Earlscourt Park and moves diagonally through a residential area where it follows Geary Avenue home to an indoor parkour gym, a costume rental warehouse, a karaoke bar, music and photography studios, autobody shops, bakeries, boarded up Victorian storefronts and a former factory now home to many creative industries. For the remainder of its length, the Green Line runs parallel to Dupont Street immediately north of the Canada Pacific company’s rail line. The east end of the line, where much of the space is used for paid parking, passes social housing, new condos, George Brown College, a great view of historic home Casa Loma, the Toronto Archives and the Tarragon Theatre.

The Green Line Ideas Competition site is in Toronto, Ontario, Canada but a corridor of overhead transmission lines can be found running through many urban centres in North America. Therefore, the site and competition could be seen as a case study for this condition.

There are two Green Line competition streams: Competition A – Green Line Vision, in which competitors are challenged to create compelling visions for the public use of more than five kilometres of transmission line corridor; and Competition B – Green Line Underpass Solution, in which competitors must propose a redesign for the intersection and railway underpass (also known as a “subway”) at Dovercourt Road between Dupont Street and Geary Avenue.

The jury will award $6,000 CDN in cash prizes for the competition as below: For Competition A – Green Line Vision, the first-place prize is $3,000, second place is $1,000 and third place is $500. For Competition B – Green Line Underpass Solution, the Ashley Gilbert first-place prize is $1,000 and second place is $500.

Jurors include: Shawn Micallef, senior editor and co-owner, Spacing Media Inc.; architect Joe Lobko, OAA, FRAIC, partner in DTAH; landscape architect Diana Gerrard, OALA, partner in gh3 inc.; Evan Castel, DNA co-chair and PhD candidate, University of Toronto; and Netami Stuart, OALA, landscape architect with Parks, Forestry and Recreation, City of Toronto.

All questions regarding the competition should be forwarded to by Monday, January 7, 2013. Questions and answers will be posted on the competition website by Monday, January 14, 2013. All submissions must be received by email by 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time on Monday, February 4, 2013, otherwise they will be disqualified. Please note that Workshop Architecture Inc. will not take any responsibility for email problems or any other technical issues.

For full details of the competition, please visit